WESTFIELD-A special fundraiser – The Cat’s Meow – is planned Oct. 3 with all proceeds to benefit the cats and kittens at the Westfield Homeless Cat Project on East Mountain Road.
The 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. event at Choice Health, 307 East Main St., will feature gently used jewelry and accessories.
Denise Sinico, founder, owner and president of the Westfield Homeless Cat Project (WHCP), said she receives donations from area residents year round for tag sales that the organization conducts, and always sets aside accessories for women for special events including The Cat’s Meow.
“The funds raised will be used for surgeries for the cats and kittens that arrive here,” said Sinico, adding the organization is a no-kill facility.
Sinico explained that the “average basic cost” for an unaltered cat she receives is $150.
“Then there is dentals, eye issues, cats with parasites, broken bones and every other issue you can possibly think of that I deal with on a daily basis,” said Sinico.
Sinico, affectionately called the Crazy Cat Lady, said she had seen a need in Westfield to address the homeless cat situation and now 14 years later, she said that dream has saved 11,000 cats.
“I guess you could say I have given my personal life up to complete an impossible mission which was to rescue/rehome, neuter/spay and save every cat and kitten I came in contact with,” said Sinico. “Everyone knows I run a no-kill facility and as far as I’m concerned, I have proven it to myself over the years that it can be done.”
Sinico is hopeful that the wide ranging jewelry available, as well as handbags, scarfs, and hats for sale will generate at least $2,000.
“Fundraisers are a necessary evil and this year has been especially difficult for us to do fundraisers due to COVID-19,” said Sinico. “I worry due to the fact that our Holiday Basket Sales had to be cancelled this year due to the virus which means we will lose over $15,000 from that particular event.”
While Sinico is hopeful that The Cat’s Meow fundraiser will raise $2,000, that only covers approximately 13 cats or kittens with basic care.
“This year we’ve had to rely heavily on donations to get through,” said Sinico. “We have so many beautiful items people have donated and indeed we have some of the top name brands in jewelry and pocketbooks.”
Sinico is being assisted with the fundraiser by Suellen Duga, the owner of Choice Health.
“Suellen is a good friend and also participates in cat rescue,” said Sinico. “She’s my go-to girl when I get in tiny newborn neonatal kittens. Bottle feeding them around the clock every two hours for weeks on end. She is an amazing woman and a good friend and works tirelessly saving many lives.”
Sinico’s daughter, Christina Sinico, will also play an integral role with the fundraiser.
“It takes months and months to collect items for this event,” said Denise Sinico. “Christina arranges all the jewelry during the year and when we finally have enough to have an event it gets planned.”
Sinico noted that the tables on Oct. 3 will be placed inside and outside of Choice Health to ensure protocols are followed regarding COVID-19. Also as a reminder, patrons will be asked to wear a face mask and hand sanitizer will be made available. For persons who do not have a face mask, one will be provided.
“We will have police officers at the event to ensure everyone is practicing social distancing and we’re hoping everyone is patient while we hold this event,” said Sinico.
Sinico noted that $25,000 will have been lost this year due to COVID-19 since a quarter auction, a dance, and several events for basket sales had to be cancelled.
“Sadly, COVID-19 has impacted us especially in the fundraising end of it,” she said.
For area residents who are unable to attend the fundraiser but would like to make a monetary donation to help the cat and kitten rescue operation, checks can be mailed to the Westfield Homeless Cat Project, 1124 East Mountain Road, Westfield, MA 01085.
“Suellen has done several fundraisers in the past for us and is well aware of the cost to WHCP to run this place so she helps out whenever she can with fundraisers at her store,” said Sinico. “She’s an amazing human being.”